You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

2017 Subaru Impreza 5-Door

Car and Driver logo Car and Driver 12/20/2016 AARON ROBINSON

2017 Subaru Impreza 5-Door© AARON ROBINSON 2017 Subaru Impreza 5-Door Subaru is an odd company in many ways. One such way is its ratio of sedan to wagon sales, which is pretty much the inverse of every other manufacturer except, perhaps, Volvo. Take the Impreza, which sells at a rate of 30 percent sedans to 70 percent wagons—or five-doors to use the preferred industry terminology. Honda, for instance, expects the new Civic hatchback to make up only about 15 percent of overall Civic sales. It’s safe to say that Subaru buyers like a good hatch, and, thus, the five-door got plenty of love from the engineers as part of the Impreza’s overhaul for 2017.

With a hatchback it’s all about the hole, and Subaru widened the Impreza’s. The outgoing hatchback had large singular taillight clusters that, although big and bright, pinched the opening due to their size. So Subaru has split the taillights, putting part of the lens on the liftgate (as so many crossover designers have done before Subaru), thereby adding four inches of width to the narrowest portion of that fifth aperture. The result may look slightly generic, but it makes for easier access to the back.

Also, the new Subaru Global Platform on which the Impreza is based sees its rear shock towers moved farther apart by about an inch, which opens up the cargo hold. Subaru claims an additional three cubic feet of maximum cargo space in this year’s 5-Door (the company’s official name for the hatchback)—or enough to pack in 827 ears of Indiana corn with the rear seats up or 2472 ears with the seats down. They actually made glued-up corn sculptures in the shape of the wagon’s cargo area to prove it. Because Subaru. And because the Impreza is now made in Indiana.

Tempting as it is, we’ll leave the corn-hole jokes to lesser media outlets and just say that the Impreza 5-Door has all of the goodness that Subaru baked into its clean-sheet new platform, as we learned during our first drive of the 2017 Impreza sedan. That includes better crash performance and a stiffer structure for improved dynamics, partially accomplished by 23 feet of adhesive bonding plus the wider use of high-tensile “hot press” steel. As in the sedan, a revised version of the FB20 direct-injected 2.0-liter flat-four is the only engine yet available in the Impreza 5-Door; the 152 horsepower and 145 lb-ft ratings are adequate and delivered smoothly for a boxer though without any neck-bending excitement. A continuously variable automatic transmission or a five-speed stick is available in all trim levels except for the loaded Limited, which is CVT-only. Manual models won’t be available initially, and five cogs is still one short of modern norms, but Subaru (unlike Honda) gets kudos for not punishing manual buyers by forcing them to drive a stripper.

The Impreza wagon used to be positioned as sort of a small SUV, but back in 2013, Subaru canned all the Outback-ness, dropping the two-tone paint jobs and large fog lights and introducing the Impreza-based Crosstrek to assume the quasi-crossover role. That freed the Impreza 5-Door to be a slick, urbane hatchback for people who might aspire to an Audi A4 Avant if that model were still sold in America. And the 2017 Impreza fills that role even better, showing real sophistication to its ride and handling and a better treatment of its passengers through more space plus better trim and features.

As with the sedan, the 5-Door’s new platform enjoys a 0.2-inch-lower center of gravity compared with the previous model. The curb weight, according to Subaru, ranges from about 3050 pounds in the base 2.0i manual to 3200 pounds on the big-wheeled Sport. The strut front and multilink rear suspensions mounted to stiffer subframes keep chassis roll and pitch to a minimum, yet the Impreza doesn’t punish you on broken pavement, even on the Sport’s 18-inch wheels. A quicker steering ratio borrowed from the BRZ makes the turn-in sharp and gratifying. Even in the absence of thrilling power, the Impreza is a delight because of its stiff, well-tuned chassis and also its firm brake pedal. Once you reach the freeway, the extra sound insulation and thicker side glass, as well as a redesigned HVAC system with larger ductwork and less fan roar, help cut the extraneous noise, although the thrumming Impreza still may not rate as the quietest in its class. (What’s that coming over the hill, is it a comparison test?)

2017 Subaru Impreza hatchback

The cockpit won’t win any The Future Is Now awards, but it does pull Subaru into the modern era with three multicolor screens upon which the latest apps can be run. Plus, there’s an optional navigation system based on TomTom software and an available rockin’ Harman/Kardon stereo. Cockpit detailing is a big step forward for Subaru’s least expensive car, and the upholstery trim gets noticeably nicer as you move from the base 2.0i up through the Premium, Sport, and Limited trim levels.

The company says the median age of Impreza buyers is 32 and that, industry-wide, Millennials tend to buy more sedans than hatchbacks—except when they come into a Subaru showroom, where it’s the 5-Door that the vast majority want. Why Subaru is special this way we can’t figure; the Mazda 3 hatchback is both practical and gorgeous but doesn’t see nearly as much buyer enthusiasm. Whatever the buyers’ reasoning, with the new Impreza they’re getting a thoroughly updated car that offers both all-wheel drive and above par handling as standard equipment on cars with base prices ranging from about $20,000 to $25,500. That seems certain to keep Subaru’s amazing sales tear going for a few more years.

Info, reviews, photos, and more -- everything you need to know about the Subaru Impreza >>


VEHICLE TYPE: front-engine, all-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door hatchback

BASE PRICES: 2.0i, $19,715;

2.0i Premium, $22,515;

2.0i Sport, $23,315;

2.0i Limited, $25,415

ENGINE TYPE: DOHC 16-valve flat-4, aluminum block and heads, direct fuel injection

Displacement: 122 cu in, 1995 cc

Power: 152 hp @ 6000 rpm

Torque: 145 lb-ft @ 4000 rpm

TRANSMISSIONS: 5-speed manual, continuously variable automatic, continuously variable automatic with manual shifting mode


Wheelbase: 105.1 in

Length: 175.6 in

Width: 70.0 in Height: 57.3 in

Passenger volume: 97–100 cu ft

Cargo volume: 21 cu ft

Curb weight (C/D est): 3050–3200 lb


Zero to 60 mph: 8.5–8.9 sec

Zero to 100 mph: 25.4–27.0 sec

Standing ¼-mile: 16.5–16.9 sec

Top speed: 120 mph


EPA combined/city/highway driving: 27–32/24–28/31–38 mpg


More From Car and Driver

Car and Driver
Car and Driver

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon